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May 11, 2007

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» So You Want To Go To Grad School: A List from Kotaku
Terra Nova has a post trying to generate a list of potential doctoral programs for people wanting to study video games and synthetic worlds, but not necessarily make them. Having done the grad school search/application grind myself and nearly... [Read More]

Comments

1.

I'm very, very happy with communication as a home discipline for game and VW research. I gave a game-centric job talk and was hired at Illinois (a top 10, possibly top 5, comm program), and was offered elsewhere. To me, this signaled that games was not only a legit area for faculty, but is genuinely desirable if the person does good work. Going into the job cycle, I was honestly worried that my research wouldn't be taken seriously, but it hasn't been an issue--quite the opposite. Comm's main conference (ICA) now has an active games track. What's more, communication is concerned with a topic (media and communication), but isn't focused on a particular method. Done well, it gives students a broad toolkit cribbed from psych, econ, anthropology, sociology and rhetoric and then teaches them to ask "What's the right tool to answer this question?"

Now, to answer Tim's question about programs: The first answer is that a good program does not need to have games people at it. My Ph.D. was from Michigan, and I loved it and would recommend it in a second, and there are no "game" researchers there. I learned my experimental design from comm/polisci people, and then simply applied it to games. I learned cultural theory from radio historians, and then applied it to games. That's what Ph.D students are supposed to do--borrow and make it your own.

In my opinion, the top comm programs are
USC
U Penn
Michigan State
Santa Barbara
Stanford
Illinois
Ohio St.
Penn St.
Wisconsin (note: comm, not the excellent games Education people)
Northwestern
Michigan
Indiana

For those who really do want both the good comm program and game-centric researchers in place, the list is
USC
Michigan State
Northwestern
Indiana
Ohio St.

Apologies to any program I'm missing with this off-the-cuff list, and this is purely my own unscientific impression. And there are of course dozens of places with excellent game people (U Ohio with Mia, Wisconsin-Milwaukee with Thomas, etc.).

Also, each school emphasizes different approaches, so students need to look carefully. Some are broad and open, whole others are focused. Stanford Comm, for example, is heavy duty social psych (Nick Yee being the exemplar Ph.D. student) and might not be as good a fit for a critical-cultural student.

Lastly, I'd like to plug USC a little harder--partly because I just took a faculty job there, and would like to work with top students interested in games and virtual worlds. Then again, I took the job because I thought it was the best place in the world for this kind of work. USC has a half-dozen game-oriented people, an outstanding overall faculty (typically rated #1 or 2), impressive resources, and a new master's level program dedicated to the study of virtual communities (APOC) more broadly. I'll be involved in that program.

Links for students here:
http://annenberg.usc.edu/Prospective/Doctoral.aspx
http://annenberg.usc.edu/Prospective/Masters/CMGT/AreasofFocus/OnlineComm.aspx

And, of course, interested students can and should email faculty directly to ask questions. They may get shunted to an administrator, but may get personal responses if the person isn't too swamped.

2.

I forgot to put Stanford on my own list above--it's been on the list I've been sharing with students. This is a really useful list, Dmitri. Michigan State should definitely be on my list as well.

The only downside I can see to coming at this field through communications is that smaller institutions like my own tend not to have any communications departments--but someone trained in communications can often make a strong application for film & media studies, for sociology, and other disciplines that small liberal-arts colleges may have positions in.

3.

MIT (mentioned above) also has an STS program, but I'd also say that Cornell and RPI are up there too. I'm an STS PhD not studying synthetic worlds per se, but game developers and the political economy of the game industry. Plenty of synthetic inside there though. I've been happy with my academic trajectory since arriving at RPI. Many people from RPI's STS program have wound up in communications and other interdisciplinary programs.

You can also check out:
http://en.stswiki.org/wiki/Main_Page

for other STS programs.

I definitely agree that disciplining yourself and being able to put on a disciplinary coat when you need to is hugely invaluable if you intend to take an academic career path.

4.

I knew I'd forget a program. Yes, RPI should be there as well for games research. Katheryn Isbister and James Watt are both pushing that place in a good direction for students.

Nice timing: Daniel Terdiman just supplied more persuasive ammo for USC:
http://news.com.com/At+USC,+developing+game+coders/2100-1043_3-6183014.html

It's more about game makers than Ph.D. students, but it highlights the obvious benefits of being in an area with a concentration of industry, and the possible collaborations when development is also happening on campus. That's more of the CMU model, if not by design.

5.

I am coming out of long-time lurker status for this one. I agree with Dmitri that you really don't need game-oriented faculty to make this work. I was at Illinois' Institute of Communications Research--separate from the Speech Communications department Dmitri is in--and I did a gaming dissertation from a cultural studies perspective with faculty who knew little about games but taught me a lot about cultural and media studies, philosophy of technology, etc. I also think communication and media studies are great disciplines to do this kind of work in--they seem not only receptive to new media and gaming, but are actively hiring in those areas.

6.

I will join Shawn in coming out on this one, being an undergraduate at UW Milwaukee considering graduate studies in the field, it is reassuring to see this here.

Since I started in both mass communication and sociology, synthetic worlds have become a natural fit for me. The media studies program through mass communication has developed greatly in the time that I have been there, continues to do so, and with Thomas is in anthropology there is a definite cross discipline recognition of this field. It is also encouraging to see things happening at UW Madison, leaving me fairly optimistic about Wisconsin in general.

7.

The University of Texas at Austin used to have a virtual-space lab with attendant programs, but I was last there in '95, so I'm not sure what's going on now. But it's at least worth checking up on for you as they were doing quite a bit of research at the time.

8.

You might want to tell people about the field of presence, which is the sensation of "being there" in a mediated environment. It's also known as narrative transportation in literature. One of the questions people might ask is "Why can someone spend 5 hours playing WoW without getting up?" Immersion, involvement, social aspects, etc all build into presence, which can be utilized in coming up with an answer. The short of it though, is you don't need to only study video games to study presence, as it can emerge out of any mediated experience.

As far as studying presence is concerned, I've found it is pretty much a "make your own program of study" kind of thing. I have a B.S. and M.S. in comp sci, and entered a modeling and simulation Ph.D. program at U of central Florida (in Orlando). The program itself isn't that great, but it gives me the freedom to create a program of study the draws from fields I would have never had the opportunity to study otherwise (human factors, cognitive psych). When looking for a grad program, flexibility of your adviser and the department to the program of study YOU want is a very big plus. Else, you get stuck taking courses that you will likely never use in your career.

Skill wise, if you studied computer science, sociology, psychology, communications, anthropology, etc. you would fit into the field. It is largely multi-disciplinary.

While there is research in presence here in the states, it feels to me to be more of a tack on study to a larger project proposal, as opposed to being directly funded. Several of the schools already mentioned would work. There are also a ton of places in Europe, as the EU is directly funding presence research. For me, having the CS background, I only ever looked at what the CS dept was doing, and that often hid many of the projects going on. Most of the really good work comes from cooperation between departments, and that is much harder to observe on a department website. That's one of the things that I love about this inter-disciplinary programs; you know you will be working with people outside your field from the start. For a PhD, that is one of the most important things you can have at your disposal when you start trying to figure out what you want to study, so I highly recommend such a program to anyone.

9.

Interesting post and important conversation to have about supporting this kind of research. To toot my own institution's horn a bit, the University of California, Irvine has a pretty strong base for studying virtual worlds and games across a range of disciplines, including anthropology (no communications here, sadly), and things like the ACE (Arts Computation Engineering) program. Another strong department here for this kind of research is Informatics. I don't know much about Informatics departments elsewhere, but I'm sure there are others around that support this kind of research.

10.

I'm a (soon-to-be) fifth year PhD student in Communication at UPenn. My school has been actively interested in getting grad students who study games, even though we have no specifically game-oriented experts per se on our faculty. I'm inclined to agree with above comments: what you learn in communication classes more broadly is applicable to how you would want to apply it to games, and a decent amount of your time in school would be spent pursuing your own research interests anyway.

Our curriculum strongly emphasizes getting student work published, but I don't think that the barriers of traditional, field-situated cultural anthropology are as much a problem now as they used to be. For one thing, our faculty is pretty open to the idea of "virtual" ethnography; a few of us have written about web sites and forums, and one of my colleagues is working on a "field" study of Second Life. In addition, game research still offers opportunities for field research in the offline world; I'm presenting a paper about arcades at ICA this month, and my dissertation (on "geek" cultures, including gaming) relies heavily on participant observation and interviews with people at fan conventions. The students studying games at my school currently are all focusing primarily on the qualitative study of culture and media forms, but there's plenty of opportunities for more quantitative research as well, such as with experimental research on games and learning.

11.

"Dustin says:
You might want to tell people about the field of presence, which is the sensation of "being there" in a mediated environment. . .The short of it though, is you don't need to only study video games to study presence, as it can emerge out of any mediated experience."

The guy who studies presence in games best and most over the last few years is Kwan Min Lee, also at USC:
http://annenberg.usc.edu/Faculty/Communication/LeeK.aspx

His background was in robotics and computer-mediated-communication more generally before applying the concepts to gaming interactions.

And I'll look for your talk at ICA, Jason. Sounds interesting.

12.

Georgia Tech made it on Timothy's first list but it might be worth mentioning that the School of Literature, Communication & Culture offers Digital Media studies from the undergrad level (a shared Computational Media degree with CS) to the grad (MA in Digital Media) to a

13.

... PhD in Digital Media. Games feature prominantly on the topic list as well as online worlds, interactive television, mobile technology, and augmented reality. The students come from a very wide background from filmmaking and television to CS to architecture.
The PhD encourages practical experiments and many students are directly involved in faculty research or carry their own projects. A lot of them have a number of publications or published/ exhibited projects during their studies. We are far from perfect (no such thing as a perfect PhD - always a bumpy ride) but we are learning and I am not sure there are many comparable PhD programs around. One advice for people looking for a PhD in this area: look for the right faculty not only for the school or program.

14.

I have been an avid reader of TN for some months now, but finally felt compelled to weigh in on this topic because it is finally an area of expertise to which I can DIRECTLY relate authoritatively.

I do not intend to demean or degrade the quality of other school's programs, nor inflate my own qualifications, but based upon immediate and first-hand experience recently applying to graduate programs to study online game socio-cultural phenomena, I felt my interests in game studies were met with a deafening silence from several of the schools mentioned in the posts before. Having just recently graduated with a BS from MIT's STS program in 2006 (unfortunately did not have the time to pursue also pursue a track in CMS with Mr. Jenkins as well), I just finished receiving my lashes applying to graduate programs in media, communications, STS, and anthropology to study some convolution of cultural production and deviance in online games. Having applied to many of the schools mentioned above (MIT HASTS, NYU Culture & Communication, Stanford & Harvard socio-anthro) and only Northwestern's Media, Technology, and Society program willing to accept me (which I will be happily attending in the fall).

I believe the academic/disciplinary hurdles to overcome in applying for Ph.D. include committees recognizing the legitimacy of games as socio-cultural artifacts of the same magnitude as lit/song/dance, a willingness to admit "media studies" into the pantheon of academic discourses, combined with a conception of "interdisciplinary" extending beyond conversations between established fields of econ, anthro, socio, law. Certainly there are programs more interested in studying "people-in-grass-skirts" that will resist this emerging area as well as departments that espouse "new interdisciplinary emerging media studies" with no critical substance -- but both only speaks to the growing import of these field(s). Above all, I would recommend that prospective applicants gain some experience working for game companies (as GMs, developers, etc) or pursuing a related MS/MA before applying for PhDs.

(I'm looking forward to meeting many of you in Singapore in August!)

15.

I have been an avid reader of TN for some months now, but finally felt compelled to weigh in on this topic because it is finally an area of expertise to which I can DIRECTLY relate authoritatively.

I do not intend to demean or degrade the quality of other school's programs, nor inflate my own qualifications, but based upon immediate and first-hand experience recently applying to graduate programs to study online game socio-cultural phenomena, I felt my interests in game studies were met with a deafening silence from several of the schools mentioned in the posts before. Having just recently graduated with a BS from MIT's STS program in 2006 (unfortunately did not have the time to pursue also pursue a track in CMS with Mr. Jenkins as well), I just finished receiving my lashes applying to graduate programs in media, communications, STS, and anthropology to study some convolution of cultural production and deviance in online games. Having applied to many of the schools mentioned above (MIT HASTS, NYU Culture & Communication, Stanford & Harvard socio-anthro) and only Northwestern's Media, Technology, and Society program willing to accept me (which I will be happily attending in the fall).

I believe the academic/disciplinary hurdles to overcome in applying for Ph.D. include committees recognizing the legitimacy of games as socio-cultural artifacts of the same magnitude as lit/song/dance, a willingness to admit "media studies" into the pantheon of academic discourses, combined with a conception of "interdisciplinary" extending beyond conversations between established fields of econ, anthro, socio, law. Certainly there are programs more interested in studying "people-in-grass-skirts" that will resist this emerging area as well as departments that espouse "new interdisciplinary emerging media studies" with no critical substance -- but both only speaks to the growing import of these field(s). Above all, I would recommend that prospective applicants gain some experience working for game companies (as GMs, developers, etc) or pursuing a related MS/MA before applying for PhDs.

(I'm looking forward to meeting many of you in Singapore in August!)

16.

Another advantage of Stanford, which may also be present at other schools that I'm not aware of, is the substantial media library. This is perhaps something else to consider, as you also need something to do research on unless you plan on just covering MMOs (which seems to be just what people are doing.) In the case of Stanford, this library is run by Henry Lowood, and it even includes consoles on which to play the games. In short: resources are good, particularly when you are dealing with media.

Location is also a factor because ideally you want to network with the people who actually are involved with making games. Schools in CA, WA, and TX win hands down in this regard, although looking at the previous comments perhaps CMU also has something to offer in this respect. During my 5 years at Stanford, I was able to speak with several industry bigwigs, and I feel that experience was invaluable. Certainly conferences are also an option but one that is not quite as attractive.

17.

Hey Dmitri, glad to see you're plugging USC! I just graduated 3 days ago with an MFA from the Interactive Media Division at USC School of Cinematic Arts. For anyone who's looking for an education that goes beyond the tech school approach to teaching game design (and other interactive media), this is really the only place that has such a program that is being taught at the graduate level. Sadly, there's no PhD program as of yet. However, I hear that might change real soon...

The undergrad program focuses entirely on game design and the degree is a BA in Interactive Entertainment. There's also a minor available which is also in Interactive Entertainment.

Additionally, there's the Viterbi School of Engineering that offers a computer science program that specializes in game programming called Gamepipe. That's the program mentioned in the CNet article posted earlier by Dmitri. Right now there's a preliminary effort going on to get both Interactive Media and Gamepipe to collaborate on projects. I hope it bears fruit as both programs can really benefit one another...

Anyhow I don't have enough good things that I can say about the USC Interactive Media MFA. It's been the best three years of my (relatively short) life. I've never been so academically and philosophically challenged! I leave here prepared to not only communicate my hare-brained game ideas with other people, but to execute upon them as well. So if you want to learn how to THINK about games, in addition to actually making them, then the IMD is the place for you!

Cinematic Arts site link for IMD:
http://cinema.usc.edu/programs/interactive-media/
IMD's site with student/faculty blog:
http://interactive.usc.edu/
Class of 2007's MFA Thesis Show:
http://interactive.usc.edu/thesis2007/

18.

What a wonderful post. Thank you very much for opening my eyes to this information. I have a couple of quick questions that I hope someone will be able to shed greater light upon:

As I will be graduating from medical school next year, I was wondering if there would be any benefit for me to pursue admission into these doctoral programs?

I dont intend on practicing medicine as such. My focus has always been business or research oriented. With a lifetime's passion for videogames that has lasted through grad school, I'd definetely be willing to pursue a Phd or Masters in communications/VW/videogames etc etc...

Forgive me for being nieve, but any specifics or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Im almost done with med school and looking for any opportunities that would allow me to take my doctor/medical background and combine it with further education that would allow me to work in the games industry - say as a consultant.

Thanks for any advice or help. Thanks again for the informative blog post.

19.

Other options:

If you are interested in the music of video games with a good heaping of cultural studies, the Musicology program of UCLA would be a good fit. (There are a bunch of us here you are so inclined...though I don't think anyone is writing there dissertation on video game music yet).There may be other Musicology Programs where such a thing is possible, but you'd have to find a program that is aligned with "New Musicology." UCLA's Performance Studies might be an option if you are dealing with more interactive fare.

Very cool English Deaartments might be receptive as well.

20.

Mazhar,

I'm hesitant to offer advice to someone finishing a medical degree. It sounds like you may need to decide what kind of job/life you want and then consider whether a particular kind of program would be fitting. Any program should be a means to an end, and the more you know about the end, the better your selection can be.

21.

I'm studying virtual spaces in the geography program at the University of Texas at Austin, which is working well for me, but there are many choices depending on your field... I agree that you should try to find a program where you can assemble a good committee, and that you should work to present your research as part of the discipline (or disciplines, if your work is interdisciplinary) rather than on the fringes.

22.

Thank you Dmitri for you reply. I will definetly put thought to your advice. Appreciate the help.

23.

Wow, I'm surprised to find half of potential grad schools in this blog when I did my search a few months ago. Although, I wished I found one in Canada...

I'm a psychology major and I'm interested into the social psych of online video game world, but also the internet in general. The problem I have in applying to grad school or making a thesis is that I can't focus on what subject or topic of video games because every time I read an interesting blog post or journal article I think of several good research projects and in the long run I became indecisive.

Right now, I try to focus on the effects of VG, but I'm wavering towards VG music effects or VG social contexts or cultural differences between American and foreigh games, and the list goes on and on. I'm worried that I'll end up having nothing to write for my thesis or even whether I get accepted with this kind of indecisiveness.

24.

The anglo-saxon game studies is quite impressive, but we have something in France. You can have a glance at this website : www.omnsh.org, the numeric worlds observatory in human sciences, where you can find a lot of PhD students works on videogames.

The main problem is that there is no department nor program in university dealing with videogames, we are lone wolves. (State of the public research in france is quite bad)

Then, according to the posts, I can testify thaht is quite dificult to get a legitimity in our acamedic field. I am in political science in La Sorbonne, 3rd year PhD, you cannont image how they consider my work...

25.

An interesting thread!

I have to put in my experience, as I am right there with many of you.

I am at the thesis stage of an MA in English at U-Wisconsin-Eau Claire. My thesis project is a the development of a methodological approach to understanding formal game elements, from which critics from other discipline (than game studies) can launch from.

In essence, I am trying to break the debate between ludologists and narratologists (however tenous people may feel that debate is).

It is has not been easy convince the Grad. Exec. Committee about my project, but what I felt helped was that in the last 2 years of courses of my MA I purposely either 1) wrote about games using the theories presented in class, or 2) worked games in the papers about non-game related topic (such as a paper about madness in Hamlet).

I am, however, at a cross-roads right now. Do I go back and get a game design degree (allowing me greater authority as a game scholar through see both the technical and philosophical)? Or, do I go on to a Ph.D. program. The U of Minnesota seems to have expressed interest in bringing me in as a non-canonically focused Ph.D. candidate.

However, I agree with Timothy's statement:

"My basic starting position is that whatever interdisciplinary program a potential Ph.D candidate might choose, they must also develop a convincing disciplinary profile if they have any interest at all in remaining in academia."

I am also focusing on modern American lit (particular from the '50s on through post-modern lit), as well as creative writing--so as to allow myself the ability to teach canonical as well as non-canonical courses within an English department.

There is no way, in today's age at least, that I am going to find a faculty (much less tenure-track) position with a singular focus on games...at least not at most universities.

Thanks...

C

26.

An interesting thread!

I have to put in my experience, as I am right there with many of you.

I am at the thesis stage of an MA in English at U-Wisconsin-Eau Claire. My thesis project is a the development of a methodological approach to understanding formal game elements, from which critics from other discipline (than game studies) can launch from.

In essence, I am trying to break the debate between ludologists and narratologists (however tenous people may feel that debate is).

It is has not been easy convince the Grad. Exec. Committee about my project, but what I felt helped was that in the last 2 years of courses of my MA I purposely either 1) wrote about games using the theories presented in class, or 2) worked games in the papers about non-game related topic (such as a paper about madness in Hamlet).

I am, however, at a cross-roads right now. Do I go back and get a game design degree (allowing me greater authority as a game scholar through see both the technical and philosophical)? Or, do I go on to a Ph.D. program. The U of Minnesota seems to have expressed interest in bringing me in as a non-canonically focused Ph.D. candidate.

However, I agree with Timothy's statement:

"My basic starting position is that whatever interdisciplinary program a potential Ph.D candidate might choose, they must also develop a convincing disciplinary profile if they have any interest at all in remaining in academia."

I am also focusing on modern American lit (particular from the '50s on through post-modern lit), as well as creative writing--so as to allow myself the ability to teach canonical as well as non-canonical courses within an English department.

There is no way, in today's age at least, that I am going to find a faculty (much less tenure-track) position with a singular focus on games...at least not at most universities.

Thanks...

C

27.

Forgive me if I missed this above or if it's tangential to the discussion, but: what do those in undergraduate or graduate programs focused on game studies (defined as broadly as you like) plan to do with your degree? Is the idea to study games, virtual worlds, etc., from an academic POV, or to contributed to their creation, some of both, or something else?

I ask because I'm fascinated (stunned even) that there is so much growth in the study of virtual worlds from an academic POV. Can there really be this much theory, this much study, and (more pointedly) this many faculty positions in this area?

Also, do you think this level of interest is narrowing or widening the gap between academia and industry in creating/studying virtual worlds? It seems ironic to me that there should be a gap at all, given that the academic study of games and virtual worlds wouldn't exist without industry, but I'm enough of a realist to know that it's there.

28.

Hopefully the ones who are not interested in development will do research that A) adds knowledge to the world and B) improves the human condition.

And I suspect there will always be a gap between industry and academia since the goals and incentives don't line up perfectly. But like any gap, it can be bridged by open-mindedness from each side. I like to think that my work can both do A&B above and occasionally offer information to devs at the same time. I certainly learn from them.

There are, by the way, positions that are either explicitly or implicitly open to game researchers now, which is a real contrast to 3 or 4 years ago. However, there are more people than positions. Double-however: this is the case in every field and sub-area. The job market has been fairly poor for many years and the job prospects for any one Ph.D. student are poor. The modal number of job offers is almost always 0.

There is always room for good people, but the median student is usually screwed, unless he/she substantially lowers or changes his/her goals. The prospects for game research and positions will slowly improve so long as games remain as popular a medium as they are now. In academic time (glacial, that is), the recent changes have been lightning-swift. But there's no reason to think that the glut of Ph.D.'s and the paucity of positions will be any different over the long term.

Moral of the story: If you go the Ph.D. route for an academic job, be prepared to work harder and smarter than the other kids or don't bother.

For the development-bound or hybrids, I have almost no idea how this pans out. It'd be good to hear from a CMU, G Tech, USC, Indiana, etc. person.

29.

As far as the legitimacy of gaming related research is concerned, I think it has to do with funding availability. It is hard to get funded if you say "I want to study such and such in video games." There is not necessarily any context for which to make a connection to an established field. So, for the people meeting with a lack of success, I would suggest taking the extra effort to figure out what the more traditional components are, and then relate them to the interactive environment.

A lot of the problem I've seen people have in selling an idea to their committee (or anyone for that matter) is a lack of good communication of ideas. If your committee can't relate to video games, then you will have a very hard sell. But, relate it to something they already know, and it can be easier. This is work you would have to do anyway once you start your dissertation, or try to get published. Might as well get a head start. Plus, you have the advantage of showing how existing theory is generalizable to new media/environment forms, which people love seeing.

To weigh in on the 'after-grad' issue, it's tough. I expect most people would want academic jobs. That is my intention at least, although I would prefer a purely research position with industry ties. I'd then like to study what it is about certain games/environments that lead to better experiences, in order to create game design guidelines developers could use. As a gamer, I'm tired of paying 40-60 dollars to be a subject in an experiment of how not to design a game (which seems to be a constant occurrence for me each time I buy something for the Wii...).

From an industry perspective, I would think consulting is the best route. However, I'm not sure there are any gaming think tanks out there (and if there are, can I have a job with you? ;) ). Would developers want to listen to a bunch of academics tell them how to make their game, any more than their publisher? There is still a legitimacy issue of the work on games and their impact.

I think the social scientists studying games have a far easier job legitimizing their work, as they are studying active, current human behavior that emerges from any type of game play, or even the behavior that leads to wanting to play. While the available positions are likely limited to academia, it is bit reassuring to know where you should be looking in that regards.

Legitimizing spending research dollars into how to make a better game though... If you have an answer to that, I'd say you are at the top tail of the curve. My guess would be to look at serious games and the companies developing them. There is good money there and a need to have a strong theory and research based reason for why a certain thing was chosen over another, as the game will be used as a teaching/training tool. Knowing how to effectively create such a game will be the difference between success and bankruptcy.

30.

UC Irvine has pioneered game studies for a decade now. It was the first university to propose an undergraduate major in game studies, and has the highest concentration of faculty in game studies in the University of California system (in the arts, in anthropology, history, film and media studies, English, informatics, computer science, business, etc). It also has several graduate programs (such as Anthropology, English, Visual Studies, Informatics, Arts Computing Engineering) where people study gaming (but not on its own - in the specific disciplinary setting). By the same token, it is not as deeply influenced by large US entertainment software publishers and their needs as USC for instance is; it remains a true academic environment.

31.

I'm in Indiana University's Department of Communication and Culture and it has been a good choice. It isn't a Communication department as such. I'm through with coursework and I only took one "communication" course and that was my choice. It is divided into 3 sections: Rhetoric, Media, and Ethnography and Performance. I'm much more in the Ethnography and Performance and Media sections (although anyone can take any classes you want). The department has a huge variety of research interests and it has been good.

I got my MA at Bowling Green State U's Department of Popular Culture and although some of the faculty has left since I graduated, I found it really valuable in giving me a really solid theoretical foundation for cultural studies.

32.

I'm in Indiana University's Department of Communication and Culture and it has been a good choice. It isn't a Communication department as such. I'm through with coursework and I only took one "communication" course and that was my choice. It is divided into 3 sections: Rhetoric, Media, and Ethnography and Performance. I'm much more in the Ethnography and Performance and Media sections (although anyone can take any classes you want). The department has a huge variety of research interests and it has been good.

I got my MA at Bowling Green State U's Department of Popular Culture and although some of the faculty has left since I graduated, I found it really valuable in giving me a really solid theoretical foundation for cultural studies.

33.

Nice to hear of some interest in virtual worlds going on in that department of IU (already strong on virtual worlds elsewhere in so many obvious respects). I'm a huge fan of Richard Bauman in that department, whose work should be required reading for anyone interested in the performative aspects of social life, in or out of virtual worlds.

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